Caples Fire 100% contained, area off limits until spring due to weakened trees | SierraSun.com

Caples Fire 100% contained, area off limits until spring due to weakened trees

Tahoe Daily Tribune staff report

The Caples Fire, which began on Oct. 10 has been declared 100% contained.

Eldorado National Forest Service Incident Commander Kevin Breitwieser said in a press release Friday that the 3,435 acres are now in patrol status but the fire size has not changed since Oct. 18.

The fire started as a Forest Service prescribed burn but in some of the area, the fire burned more intensely than was originally planned for.

“The Caples Fire demonstrates the importance and urgency of re-establishing fire in the forest under moderate conditions so that future wildfires will be less intense,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree said in the press release. “Although the intensely burned areas of the Caples Fire are within the size range and severity of historic fires in the Sierras, visitors may be surprised at the number of trees that are now dead.”

Although the fire killed more trees than originally intended, the Forest Service said the burned areas will have some ecological benefits. Research teams from the Forest Service and the California Academy of Sciences will be studying the role of fire in the Caples Creek watershed which supplies water for 110,000 people in the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID).

The fire area will be closed to the public until spring because some of the fire weakened trees will fall during the winter.

The Forest Service, EID and Sierra Nevada Conservancy will use the lessons learned from the Caples Fire to inform the next steps for the 8,800 acre Caples Ecological Restoration Project.

For more information about the Caples Ecological Restoration Project, please visit the project pages on the forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication to the Sierra Sun.